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PM Narendra Modi likely to visit Houston to address Indian Diaspora and strengthen bilateral ties with US

In February this year, a a delegation of NRI community leaders met Modi in Delhi, and requested him to plan his next diaspora event in Texas where about 2,50,000 Indian-Americans live and work.

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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Indian PM Narendra Modi, Wikimedia
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Houston, May 17, 2017– Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was invited by the Indian Diaspora in Houston, Texas in the United States earlier in February, this year. The PMO is considering to visit the city and address the Indian Diaspora along the lines of address made by the prime minister in Madison Square Garden in 2014 and Silicon Valley in 2015.

In February this year, a delegation of NRI community leaders met Modi in Delhi, and requested him to plan his next diaspora event in Texas where about 2,50,000 Indian-Americans live and work.

The visit to the city was further emphasized by US energy secretary Rick Perry when he met the Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan earlier in march. Rick said that Modi’s visit would improve energy cooperation between the two countries, adding a new dimension to bilateral ties, mentioned Indian Express report.

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Considering PM Modi’s interest in space diplomacy, the NASA Johnson Space Centre would also be an attraction.

According to Indian Express report, as the Indian-US space cooperations and plans to launch a launch a joint satellite in 2021 are also areas where Modi would look to build relations with the US, the Texas visit is under “serious consideration” and the PMO will reportedly take a call by the next week.

A BJP leader said, “Time is short, and we would need to make arrangements fairly quickly if the PMO decides to go ahead with the Houston diaspora event.”

He also added that a senior functionary of the ruling party who coordinates such events will be traveling to the U.S. next week.

As the Donald Trump administration is lifting restrictions on exploration and exports, fossil fuels will be an added component while emphasizing the wide range of cooperation between the two countries such as defense and counter-terrorism.

This will be the Indian Prime Minister’s 5th visit to the US in the preceding three years but the 1st visit after President Donald Trump assumed office in January this year.

– prepared by Nikita Tayal of NewsGram, Twitter: @NikitaTayal6 

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  • Kushal Shah

    Full Dual Citizenship for NRIs, OCI card holders and the entire indian diaspora is needed to encourage investment in India and progress.

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Juneteenth: A Proclamation From The Executive Of The United States

Another Independence Day

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Deborah Smith and her husband, Kuma, watch festivities at a Juneteenth celebration at Leimert Park in the Crenshaw District of Los Angeles, June 19, 2010.
Deborah Smith and her husband, Kuma, watch festivities at a Juneteenth celebration at Leimert Park in the Crenshaw District of Los Angeles, June 19, 2010. VOA

“The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves free.”

That proclamation, June 19, 1865, was the spark for a day that has come to be known in the United States as Juneteenth, the oldest known celebration commemorating the end of U.S. slavery.

The proclamation in Texas actually came 2½ years after slavery ended with President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. That document, which made emancipation effective in slaveholding states January 1, 1863, was signed in the middle of the Civil War. But it was not until federal troops arrived thousands of kilometers west in Texas, two months after the official end of the war in 1965, that many Texas slaves were informed that they were free.

The reason for the delay in notification of the slaves is unclear. It could have been slow communications at a time when telephones and email did not exist; it could have been that such a proclamation could not have been enforced until federal troops arrived in Texas after the war.

Life for freed slaves

The proclamation did not immediately make life easy for freed slaves. They had to find their own work for wages and grapple with prejudice that causes racial divides in the United States today. But emancipation was a legal victory that came as welcome news to the 250,000 African-Americans who had been illegally enslaved in Texas for 30 months after the signing of the document that was meant to free them.

Today, Juneteenth supporters are still working for recognition of the holiday, which is celebrated with picnics, parades, prayer and public celebrations of African-American culture.

The holiday was once celebrated mostly in the western United States. Texas-dwellers took the holiday with them as they followed job opportunities west. But the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s brought a new surge in interest in the holiday in the East, and now 45 out of 50 states have designated the mid-June celebration as an official state holiday or day of observance. Texas was the first state to make Juneteenth a state holiday.

Slaves
Slaves, Pixabay

Community celebrations

This Saturday and Sunday, many Juneteenth celebrations are taking place before the official June 19 anniversary of the proclamation. In Salisbury, Maryland, close to the eastern U.S. coast, residents held an outdoor festival featuring dancing and local crafts at a cultural center.

Community organizer Amber Green told a reporter that Juneteenth “is basically Black Independence Day.”

Juneteenth celebrations tend to be generated by the community, highlighting ties among family and friends.

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“Today is our festival,” Green said. “We have local artists, local vendors, local music, and we are just bringing the community together through good food, good music and good fun.” (VOA)